As banjo players, often times the number one place for us to be is in the jam. That’s where the majority of the fun and learning happens! But to get the most fun out of a bluegrass jam, one must ‘survive’ the jam. And, the best ways to thrive in this situation are to improvise well, really listen to the changes, and be able to interact with the other musicians well.
In his course, Bluegrass Banjo Jam Survival Guide, Ned Luberecki gives you all the tips and tricks you’ll need to know to make a good impression on the band, survive the jam, and have the most fun.
Here are seven bluegrass banjo lessons from the course. For the full course, check out Ned Luberecki’s Bluegrass Banjo Jam Survival Guide on TrueFire!
Banjo Lesson – Major Inversions Up the Neck – Demonstration
In this lesson, I’ll show you a formula or pattern for finding the different inversions of major chords all over the neck.
Banjo Lesson – G, C & D Double Stops with Roll – Demonstration
In this lesson, we’ll practice moving through the double stop positions for G, C and D while playing a roll.
Banjo Lesson – Turning Double Stops Into Licks – Demonstration
Now that you’ve learned how to navigate the fingerboard using double stop positions, it’s time to turn them into licks. A “lick” is just a short musical phrase. On the banjo, a lick usually involves more than just playing a roll over a chord position. In this case, we’ll add a hammer-on to each of the double stop positions and make them sound a lot more like bluegrass banjo playing!
Banjo Lesson – Double Stop Licks Jam: G, C, & D – Playalong
In this example, I’ll play the same sequence of double stop positions over the same chord progressions, first as just the double stops, then with the added hammer-on. Once you’re used to making these new positions, go back to some of the previous rhythm tracks and try mixing double stops and double stop licks.
Banjo Lesson – Great Licks for Jamming: G – Demonstration
Here’s a walk-up lick that you can use for the intro to your solo and another important G slide like that is used all the time in bluegrass banjo playing. Once you hear these, you should recognize them right away.
Banjo Lesson – Ultimate Forward Roll with Licks Jam: G, C & D Playalong
Now we’ll put these new licks to work over a G, C and D chord progression. Once you’ve got these under your belt, try combining them with the double stop licks over the other playalong rhythm tracks from previous lessons.
Banjo Lesson – Final Jam: Nine Pound Changes – Playalong
In this playalong, I use all of the techniques that we’ve learned in this course to play over the chord changes to the popular bluegrass jam tune “Nine Pound Hammer”. The included tab shows you how I combined these licks and techniques, but once you’ve tried it, do it without the tab. Don’t memorize this version, but use the licks we’ve learned to create your own. That’s how you survive a jam!
Digging these free bluegrass banjo lessons? Check out Ned Luberecki’s Bluegrass Banjo Jam Survival Guide.